Helping a Senior Loved One From a Different State
Having a senior loved one who lives far away can be stressful at times, in part because you may want to be of more help to them when they have health issues or needs that you can’t provide for from a distance. For many people, assisting a senior loved one from afar is all about using technology to their advantage and staying in contact as much as possible, as well as helping their loved one find support in their community to keep loneliness at bay and to ensure they have support.
Because there is no one way to be a caregiver, it’s important to remember that as long as you’re doing what is within your power to help your loved one stay safe and healthy, you have every reason to keep the title. Family dynamics and financial situations may change, making this a stressful time for you, so make it a point to take care of yourself so that you may better care for your loved one. Here are some things you can do to make it easier.
Let technology be your friend
If your loved one is open to it and doesn’t already have one, help him find a smartphone that meets his needs. It may be handy to have a large screen for better viewing, plus lots of storage space for handy apps like Medisafe, which will assist with keeping track of medicines, or games like Words With Friends, which will keep his mind active and vital.
Help him downsize
Downsizing is a huge benefit for many seniors, especially if they have lived in a larger-than-needed home for many years. Making a move later in life can seem daunting to many, but it means not having to clean or take care of an enormous house while also dealing with health or mobility issues. Help your loved one downsize by looking for a home that fits their needs–location, size, and price are the three most important details to look at–and then creating a checklist of things that need to be done. Hire a helper or ask one of your loved one’s friends to come and help declutter and clean, going room-by-room to ensure nothing gets left out. In the end, downsizing can help a senior stay safe and healthy for years to come.
You can find more tips on downsizing here.
Help him stay social
Staying social means much more than just a way to pass the hours; it’s also extremely helpful in combating loneliness, keeping the brain active and vital, and finding support in our peers. For seniors, all these things are important parts of having a healthy life after retirement. Help your loved one get social by looking for ways he can meet new people; perhaps with an exercise group, or a book club at the local library.
Taking over the role of caregiver can be stressful if you aren’t prepared for any contingency. Think about the best ways to help your loved one should an emergency occur, and gather any paperwork you might need. Make copies so your loved one can be involved in any decision-making, and communicate with family members about any important events in your loved one’s life.
Ensuring your senior loved one is well taken care of is a big job, so it’s important to ask for help when you need it to avoid becoming overwhelmed. If no one is available to assist you, reach out for support from a counselor or therapist who can help you manage your feelings. For more tips on how to handle helping a loved one, read on here.